Died at birth importance?

+3 votes
I have found several death certificates for ancestors who died at birth. I assume if the child lived only hours or day that it is a null value in the family tree and should not be entered other than perhaps a note on the mother's profile.Correct assumption?
in Policy and Style by Wayne Oldroyd G2G6 Mach 2 (22.1k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Clicked the wrong link.  Please see Answers.

8 Answers

+10 votes
Best answer

Using that logic, Wayne, we would also need to ignore all those who never married or had children as they didn't contribute to their family tree either: young men and women lost in wars, those who died as children of any age, etc.  The point is, they ARE part of the family tree because they were born to somebody, may have had siblings, and so on.  Can I also point out that no ancestor can have died at birth, only an ancestor's sibling or more distantly related.

by Kenneth Evans G2G6 Pilot (251k points)
selected by Wayne Oldroyd
+15 votes
My understanding is that we create one profile per person. These infants are that "one person" and should have their own profile.
by Dorothy Coakley G2G6 Pilot (186k points)
I'm pretty sure that the one person one profile rule just means that we have a single tree and that there should be no duplicate profiles.
+6 votes
I can see some value in adding known children who might have had descendants, even if you aren't going to pursue them.  They provide a connection point that somebody might search for.

But profiles for children who are known to have died young don't seem to serve any purpose.
by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (640k points)
I disagree, RJ and suspect that our "cousins" will be evenly split between those who want the child acknowledged and those who consider the child  to be a page from the life-story of the mother.

When I look at the profiles of my long-gone ancestors, I see child who obtained birth certificates, death certificates, perhaps a christening and often a name.

 I see the frequent practice of naming a second child by the same name immediately after the death of the first child. I note places where they were born, family cemeteries where they were buried, families who lost a series of children before a "permanent" child arrives...the fertile ground for future historians seeking info about genetic conditions in one (or both) parents.

Children count. Their dads count as frequently as their moms. Their sister, brothers and relatives deserve to "know" them.

Count me on the side of "one profile, one person."
As a modern mother of a child who was named. Yes it does explain the "gap". It also is something the children lived through if they are the older siblings. In the older communities those events may have included picnics or community events by a church to support the family. Extended family and group family living was common among pioneer families in Southwestern Ontario. The everybody knows now is not the "everybody" of the future.
I'm with you, RJ. They should be mentioned in the section of the narrative bio  that lists children in the parents' profiles, but I see no particular benefit to adding a profile for them. The only reason there needs to be a profile for a child, as opposed to just talking about them in the parents' bio, is (i) you need a profile in order to connect a spouse or children, neither of which are relevant to someone who dies young, and (ii) to have a place to discuss that person's life, also not generally relevant for some who dies young,

I don't have a problem if someone else wants to create bios for children who died young. I just don't think it is necessary or a good use of time.
Beautifully put Dorothy, it actually brought a lump to my throat reading that. I totally agree. Every human life is part of a bigger story, no matter how short.
RJ, Chase, from a genealogical perspective, I agree that having the info in the parents bio is important for the genealogist to know.  It can help rule out other potential children knowing that the mother could not conceive when she was already with child.  There are likely other benefits as well by knowing this information.

However, from a WikiTree functionality or use perspective, creation of the profile helps communicate this information when using the other views such as a Family Group Sheet.  It is readily visible that there was a gap between living children, you do not have to stop and check the parents profile right away.
+6 votes
Wayne, I do agree that they have very little value in genealogy but Dorothy also has a point. I do not add them myself here but I do add them in my familysearch.org tree because on there I am not limited by how many profiles I manage and they have an "error" that suggests there may be missing births in a family. On my new offline tree i have not decided yet about putting them in, but it is possible I will.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
+8 votes
I agree with Dorothy, and always create a profile for such a child when I find one.  Don't discount the potential "cousin bait" value of entries like that.  I once added a profile for a descendant of a sibling of a great grandparent who had died on the day of his birth.  Not long afterward I received an e-mail from another descendant in that same line, who turned out to be a third cousin I never knew.  The e-mail said 'Hey,we never knew about that baby, where do you find this stuff?'  That led to an exchange that provided a lot more family data and several photos, so that entry certainly had value to me.
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (563k points)
Great point. Thanks for sharing. Plus sometimes adoptions happened and they are looking for the biological parents. They may know that and it is a confirming point
+8 votes
As Dorothy points out, these children who died young can be an important part of a family's history. In the eras when families typically had another baby every 18 to 24 months, omitting a child because they died at birth may result in long gaps between births (or between a marriage and a first birth) that invite mistakes -- such as connecting some other child to the wrong parents. I'm often in too big a hurry to create profiles for the children who died that young, but I should go back some day and add them -- because the family's story isn't complete if those infants are omitted.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+4 votes
I only add a child when that child was given a name.  An infant that died within hours of birth or was stillborn and was never given a name I do not add to my family information. I will make a note on the mother's profile that she gave birth to X number of children and only X number of children lived beyond infancy.  A child that lived and was given a name I include in the family information even if that child died young.
by Carol Wilder G2G6 Mach 7 (73.5k points)
edited by Carol Wilder
+4 votes
I agree with all of the arguments given above for adding them. In addition, it it important to put them in their correct place in the tree to reduce the risk of someone picking up an birth record and attaching it to the wrong parents.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (679k points)

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